The U.S. Department of Education has found that Virginia Tech violated the federal Jeanne Clery Act by failing to issue an adequate and timely warning after the initial April 16, 2007 shootings on campus, and for failing to follow their published timely warning policy.
According to a 26-page report issued today:
“The University body was not put on high alert by the actions of the University administration and was largely taken by surprise by the events that followed. Warning the students, faculty, and staff might have made a difference. Putting more people on guard could have resulted in quicker recognition of a problem or suspicious activity, quicker reporting to police, and quicker response of police. Nearly everyone at Virginia Tech is an adult and capable of making decisions about potentially dangerous situations to safeguard themselves. So the earlier and clearer the warning, the more chance an individual had of surviving.” In all, more than two hours elapsed between the time University officials became aware of the first shootings (and the first murder) and the issuance of the first vague warning. For these reasons, the Department has determined that the University failed to comply with the timely warning requirement.
“With regard to the second component of this violation, the Department has determined that Virginia Tech did not comply with its own policy on the issuance of timely warnings as published in its annual campus security report. The University policy in place on April 16, 2007 did not provide students, faculty and staff with actual notice of the offices that would disseminate the warning or how these warnings would be transmitted.”
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